Meet the 17 Team!

Fashion / Inspiration / News from the 17 Team / December 12, 2013

17 Sundays head office
Of course you love our clothes, but we want you to love US {the team behind the label} too! So I interviewed the 17 team and got an inside look at what it’s like to be part of a plus size fashion label… And let’s just say that there is plenty going on here. 

Chatting with Claire Primrose – owner and designer:

Why did you start 17 Sundays?

“Nikala and I started 17 to offer a point of difference in the plus size fashion world. We felt the boutique element was missing from the mix and major retailers dominated the market. We tested this concept in partnership with Myer and were successful, so we went out on our own and started 17!”

What is the best thing about owning a fashion label? What’s the worst?

“Oh my god, where to start!? You ride so many amazing highs and extreme lows when you have your own line; I could probably write a book on this topic! I think the best thing about owning a plus size label – besides the creative aspect – is how close we are to our customers. We receive countless emails from customers telling us how liberated they feel when wearing 17, and how a simple thing like being able to fit into a boutique dress has given them a massive confidence boost. Plus size is a very politically charged category in the broader fashion offer, so to be able to contribute positively to body image issues gives us a HUGE sense of achievement both personally and professionally. It also adds a depth to producing garments that makes the stress and drama of the rag trade worthwhile. Oh and the worst thing? 2 words: Excel and M.Y.O.B.”

What are your hopes for the future of 17 Sundays?

“I want to see 17 firmly placed as a boutique plus size brand, with a loyal customer base, strong handwriting and excellent customer service. I also want to continue the label’s contribution to positive body image and support a community of confident, stylish women.”

Chatting with Nikala Vagg – owner and designer:

What is a typical day like at 17?

“A typical day at 17 is really varied. As a small business, we all need to cover a lot of areas, so my day could include really fun things like creating new shapes and styles, fitting samples, sketching garments and making decisions on prints and colours. Then there are the not-so-fun tasks like solving production issues with our factories, organising shipping and freight, banking, admin and looking at spreadsheets. Can you tell we don’t like spreadsheets?”

Where do you source inspiration for designs and what is the design process like?

“We always look at the latest catwalks to get a general feel for the trends of the season, then we take what is relevant to 17 and interpret it in our own unique way. As a plus size label, we are very mindful of body shape and size. There are certain silhouettes that just won’t work for curvier body types, so we tend to look at winning shapes and fits from our past collections and reinvent them for the new season. Because 17 is known for strong graphic prints, we are always on the lookout for new ideas and inspiration. This can literally come from anywhere! We’ve taken inspiration from a beautiful scarf handed down from someone’s granny, an amazing ethnic bag we found on holiday and a 90’s bedspread we saw on a re-run of Seinfeld!”

What do you think makes 17 Sundays different from other fashion labels?

“We really value our customers at 17 and we have tried to keep our shopping experience friendly and personalised – like buying a dress from your local corner shop! We know many of our customers by name, we know what styles they like and we look forward to meeting them in person at our warehouse sales. Even as the brand grows, we hope to keep this personal focus so that customers never feel like they are just an order number.”

Chatting with Suzanne Moore – sales and customer service:

How would you describe the typical 17 Sundays customer?

“She’s awesome! We honestly have the nicest customers, everyone is really laid back and easy going. I like to think that stumbling across 17 puts them in a good mood and they just seem to stay that way! I’m not sure that I could put into words the “typical” 17 customer as they are so varied and unique, but I can genuinely say that in all my years of working in customer service, I’ve never had such a lovely customer base!”

Where is 17 Sundays sold? What opportunities or problems does this present?

“We have our own online store at and we are stocked in 10 boutiques around Australia. Our range is also available via several major online retail stores, such as The Iconic and Birdsnest. The obvious benefit to having our garments available in bricks and mortar stores is that it gives our customers the opportunity to try on and feel the product. It’s difficult to convey the beauty of our fabrics online! Having said that, both online and boutique stores showcase our brand to a broader market. We’re also stocked by Madison Plus in the U.S, which is a huge honour for us!”

How does the label manage to stay competitive in the Australian retail market?

“I believe we stay competitive because of Claire & Nikala’s continual brilliance in designing and producing such beautiful collections. It’s funny how that sounds so simple, because they work SO hard to make it happen!”

Chatting with Corine Latour – garment technician:

How did you come to work with 17 Sundays and what is it like?

“I have known Claire and Nikala for around 10 years; we worked together at GRAB. So I have been around since the inception of 17, watching Nikala and Claire in awe as they took on the ultimate challenge of starting a fashion forward plus label. I have always loved being involved in all aspects of 17, from photo shoots to fittings. I remember in the early days, sitting up with the girls until 2am putting looks and look books together – laughing and crying at the same time. It was totally worth it, seeing how fabulous 17 is today. Even though I only work casually for 17, they are like family and I absolutely adore them!”

Why are you so passionate about plus size clothing?
“I have been plus size since I was around 7 years old and back then there was no cool plus size clothing. I eventually learned how to sew so that I could make my own clothes and be part of “normal” fashionable society. That led me to studying fashion at RMIT University to pursue my dream of providing real fashion for plus size ladies; not just oversized sacks, but actually tailored to fit and flatter the plus size body!”

What’s your favourite 17 piece and why?

“Hmmm, favourite piece…That’s difficult! I love so many pieces! At the moment, I would probably have to say that it’s the ‘Atari Baby Shirred Waist Dress’. It’s just busty enough to show off the goods, loose enough around the hips so it’s not too tight on the booty and the elastic shirring cinches in my waist to show off my shape. Oh, and the super flattering blouson waist hides that muffin top! It’s the perfect length, just to the knees, so it looks cute with casual wedges or chunky heels. Plus it’s a one-of-a-kind print so no other label has it – I have received so many compliments on it!”

So there you have it – the 17 team! Plus me of course 😉 If you have any questions you want to ask us, feel free to comment below and we’ll answer them faster than you can say “OMG the Atari Dress is my favourite too!”


Dani and the team at 17 Sundays.

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